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Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) - Hard 1:03:03 - Damien Moody

Published 2004

Speed run of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow on hard mode in 14 segments, completed on September 4 2004. Available in 3 versions: low quality, normal quality, and 60fps high quality.

Author's comments:
I had been thinking about doing a run on this game for a while just took me that long to get the ambition to actually do it :P

A few notes:

1) This game has a TON of randomness in it, mostly certain souls that are (for intents and purposes) required. Some souls are very rare and required multiple attempts to acquire (more on that in a moment)

2) Since this has an RPG level system, it was obvious from the start that I wouldn't exactly be very high of a level. To make up for this I needed powerful weapons to make up for my abysmal attack rating.

3) I made it a point not to have more than ONE random factor per segment, if any at all.

4) I go out of my way to get 2 weapons: The Claimh Solais and Death's Sickle. When I got around to doing some testing I found that all the bosses after I obtain Claimh Solais would take 2x-3x as long to complete with any other weapon (includes Balore, Graham, and Chaos). Death's Sickle I obtain for one reason: Julius Belmont. Julius is HIGHLY resistant to Holy attacks, which happens to be the element of the Claimh Solais. So I needed something else. Death's Sickle has the highest attack power of any weapon in the game, and also has great range. The only drawback is that it's slow, but that's easy enough to compensate for. I had tried other weapons for all of the situations, but nothing else either did enough damage per hit, or was difficult to score hits with.
All in all Claimh Solais takes about 3-4 minutes to go grab, which is easily saved on the 3 bosses I use it for. Balore took 2 full minutes extra with my next most powerful weapon at the time: Mystletain. Graham is a complete PITA to score hits on with on normal swinging weapon, ESPECIALLY in his second form (not to mention his second form is 3x as deadly if you have to jump to swing). Chaos just has too high of a defense for any other weapon that doesn't take me out to the boonies to get. And since he's resistant to Darkness attacks, Death's Sickle and Kaladbolg are out of the question (the only two Darkness blades that don't take more than a minute to get)
Death's Sickle takes exactly 1 full minute to go get. For Julius the range is very nice, and it's the only weapon I can get that will hit him for 70+.

And now a quick breakdown of the segments:

1st Segment: Main Corridor
Random Factor: Weapon - Combat Knife
Dropped by: Zombie Soldier
Chances to Obtain: 7 Zombie Soldiers in the path.
Rarity: RANDOM
At this point it's the best weapon I can get a hold of, and also it has a very fast swing speed. The drawback is it's extremely close range. Regardless I still need it to make enemies die faster until I pick up the Hrunting in segment 3. It seems to be VERY random on whether it'll drop it. It's technically the rare drop from Zombie Soldier, but I've had 4 drop before reaching the Chapel once, and another time had to spend more than an hour to get ONE to drop.

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Grave Keeper (I don't really need it though)
Boss - Creaking Skull
Soul - Flying Armor

2nd Segment: Chapel + Study
Random Factor: Soul - Giant Ghost
Chances to Obtain: 4 Giant Ghosts in the path.
Rarity: Semi-Common
I need this soul for the first part of the fight with Death. It's actually not that difficult to get...I actually had to retry this segment more times due to deaths.

Other things I do in this segment:
Boss - Manticore
Boss - Great Armor
Soul - Malphas

3rd Segment: Inner Quarters
Random Factor: Soul - Curly
Chances to Obtain: 16 Curlys in the path.
Rarity: Frusteratingly Nonexistant
I need this soul to get past the Waterfall in segment 7 in the Underground Reservoir. This soul is SOOOO FREAKIN' RARE! This by far was the segment that required the most attempts. Half from Curly not coughing it up, half from deaths. God I hated this segment.

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Undine
Weapon - Hrunting
Portal - Main Corridor Activated

4th Segment: Floating Garden + Clock Tower (Up to Death)
Random Factor: None
PHEW! This is the first segment that I get a break ;)
All I need to do here is travel from Save point to Save point without dying.

Other things I do in this segment:
Weapon - Mystletain

5th Segment: Death
Random Factor: None
Another segment without a random factor! YAY! But Death alone makes up for that. I decided to make this a short segment since Death is EASILY the 3rd most difficult boss in the game, and losing the battle because I screw up later wasn't exactly anything I wanted to deal with.
Honestly I suprised myself when I managed a flawless battle. Not a scratch on me :)

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Skula

6th Segment: Clock Tower + Underground Reservoir (small portion)
Random Factor: None
This is just another travel segment. I use the portal in the Clock Tower to bring me back near the entrance, which gives me easy access to the Underground Reservoir. I use the first save point once inside, since the next segment has randomness again.

7th Segment: Underground Reservoir + Forbidden Area
Random Factor: Soul - Dryad
Chances to Obtain: 14 Dryads in the path
Rarity: Rare
Back to segments that make me cry after the 20th attempt :(
The Dryad soul is actually rare enough that it's can be pretty nasty to obtain. I need this soul for the second part of the battle with Chaos. I also use it in a few other areas when I need to recover HP but don't want to waste a healing item. Honestly, this was the 2nd most annoying segment to complete.

Other things I do in this segment:
Armor - Eversing
Weapon - Claimh Solais

8th Segment: The Arena
Random Factor: Soul - Flame Demon
Chances to Obtain: 1 Flame Demon in the path
Rarity: Rare
Technically I tried to get this soul in the previous segment, but since the Flame Demon didn't cough it up when I first went past him, I continued on into the Underground Cemetary so I could save and not lose the Dryad soul I spent about 90 minutes to get ;)
I need this soul for the fight with Graham, as it's required if you want to continue on to the Chaotic Realm. Not to mention it's actually a pretty decent soul to attack with. I didn't actually mind making numerous attempts to get this soul since it was pretty much the first thing I do in the segment.

9th Segment: Balore
Random Factor: None
This is actually an easy segment. Balore is a pushover with the Claimh Solais, and beyond that I just use the Arena's portal to warp to the entrance.

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Giant Bat

10th segment: Top Floor
Random Factor: Soul - Succubus
Chances to Obtain: 4 Succubi in the path
Rarity: Uncommon
There may only be 4 Succubi on the way, but it only took me a few tries to get one of them to cough it up. I need this soul along with Giant Bat and Flame Demon when I fight Graham so I can continue on to the Chaotic Realm. Plus this soul recovers 5 HP every time I score a hit with a notmal attack ;)

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Hippogryph

11th Segment: Graham + Floating Garden
Random Factor: None
I save just before fighting Graham, just in case I think I'm taking too long. The battle itself is pathetically easy with the Claimh Solais. After that I just head to the Floating Garden and save just before Julius Belmont.

Other things I do in this segment:
Soul - Black Panther
Armor - Dracula's Tunic
Weapon - Death's Sickle
Accessory - Rune Ring

12th Segment: Julius Belmont
Random Factor: None
This is BY FAR the hardest boss in the game. Julius hits like a mack truck no matter what the attack and he's also quite fast. At first he only uses kicks and his whip, but after he gets down to about 50% HP he starts using his sub-weapons (Cross, Holy Water, Axe, Crucifix) as well, which don't always do as much damage as his whip, but are harder to avoid. Weapon of choice here is easily Death's Sickle, due to it's range and power. This segment took me a few tries to pull off, due to the difficulty (at lvl 26 my stats are pathetic) but was actually one of the more enjoyable segments to do.

13th Segment: Chaotic Realm
Random Factor: None
This place is a freakin' deathtrap at such a low level. Everything hits for 100-200 and most things take way too long to kill to be worthwhile. I got very lucky, though, and managed to make a Triton cough up it's soul, which increases STR by 16. I had hoped that he would cough it up while I was in the Underground Reservoir, but better late than never I suppose ;)
I'd like to also note that after I saved I noticed that I only needed 27 EXP to level up...that kind of annoyed me but all in all it didn't make too big of a difference.

14th Segment: Chaos
Random Factor: None
Ahhh...the final battle. At level 26 this battle is easily the second hardest battle in the game, mostly from everything doing absurd amounts of damage. This is the place I've been stockpiling all those Potions and Mana Prisms for. I end up using every last healing item I had (including the pudding!), plus chain casting Dryad as well to survive.
I needed to take out all 4 eyes to lower his defense enough to be able to hit for decent damage. I may have been able to get away with 3, but I don't think it would've been any quicker.

Quick overview:
Eyes Alive - Chaos Defense - My Damage - Damage Increase
4 eyes - 200 defense - 9 damage
3 eyes - 180 defense - 15 damage - 67% increase
2 eyes - 160 defense - 23 damage - 53% increase
1 eye - 140 defense - 33 damage - 43% increase
0 eyes - 120 defense - 44 damage - 33% increase

As far as I can tell the eyes all have a defense of 0, so they're pretty easy to take out (since Dryad can actually hit for more than 1 damage) and they end up shaving quite a few hits off Chaos itself.

Other comments:
-The Great Armor is nowhere near as easy to hit with the Combat Knife as I tend to make it look :P
-On the same note Curlys are also not as easy to hit with the Combat Knife as I make it look ;)
-I completely skip the following bosses: Big Golem, Headhunter, and Legion. Big Golem and Headhunter are skipped due to a shortcut I found that allows me early access to the Inner Quarters. Legion is skipped since all it is protecting is the Galamoth Soul, which only has one use that I don't need.
-I could have activated the Portal in the Inner Quarters in the 3rd segment and had a quicker route to the Top Floor. This also would have allowed to cut one full segment out of the run as long as I had chosen to save AFTER fighting Balore instead of before.
-I could have skipped getting the Rune Ring. It takes me 3+ minutes to go get, and at the time I didn't realize just how many MP restoring items I had acquired.

Hope y'all enjoy watchin' this run. I plan to beat this time at some point down the road, though I'm not quite sure when I'll actually get around to it.

Run time 1:11:49
Producer Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody
Audio/Visual sound, color


Captured by Nate.


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